November 19, 2020
To Interim Superintendent Kristopher Schuh and Jeffco District Leadership,
It is the position of the undersigned that every school kitchen in Jeffco should be open and serving a hot grab-n-go lunch during lunchtime (11am-1pm) throughout remote learning, which starts on Nov. 30 of 2020 as other metro area districts, such as Denver, Aurora, Boulder, and Cherry Creek, are doing.
The USDA has provided funding so that we as a district can provide a free hot meal to every child. I feel very strongly that Jeffco should be moving heaven and earth to make this accessible and not placing roadblocks in the way of students accessing these meals. The decision to limit food sites to just 15 out of the usual 156 school buildings makes the program inaccessible for many families. Instead, students and families within walking distance of their regular community school should be able to continue receiving free meals from their home site. All 156 school sites should be serving meals, as usual.
The current pivot into remote learning is different than last spring. We aren’t all home this time. Many parents will be working, potentially leaving older children at home to feed themselves and siblings. Families may not reasonably be able to travel miles to pick up food at one of the few open sites.
Further, the district has announced that pre-K students, special needs students, and the children of educators may be in the buildings during remote learning. This leads me to believe that there’s demand for nutritious, hot school lunches to be provided not only to the students in our neighborhoods, but to the in-person children as well. Full kitchen staffing is required to meet this need.
I and many other food service workers see first hand the important role that school-provided food plays in many families’ lives. Let’s not take that away from our most vulnerable group at a most pressing time. I and my undersigned allies urge Jeffco Public Schools to stay the course, open our doors, and serve free hot meals at every school to our community children.
Cody Knopf, JCSFSA President & the undersigned allies
Brooke Williams, JCEA President
Rev. John Anderson, Head Pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Arvada on Behalf of Coloradans for the Common Good
Cindy Fuqua, JCAEOP President & Nancy McCanless, JCAEOP Vice President
Judy Grounds, JCSSA Vice President
Wally Maistryk, JCTA President
Tim Allport, President of Jefferson County Security Association